External HDDs- Dual HDD RAID Enclosure with eSATA

wicker_man

Active Member
I currently have a MacBook Pro with two Western Digital My Book Pro external hard drives (750 + 500GB) connected via Firewire 800. My very important data is copied onto both HDDs, but if either of the drives fail, I will still loose some data or TV recordings or will have to re-rip my DVD/CD collection. I also have a partition on the 750GB drive for Time Machine.

Therefore, I was thinking of purchasing some kind of external enclosure where I can install two 1tb hard drives and configure them in RAID 1 (mirroring) and connect it via eSATA to my MacBook Pro (using an expresscard adapter) to ensure I do not lose any data if a drive fails.

Can anybody recommend such an enclosure?

I have seen a few on eBay (Mapower TB32 and TSUNAMI Ultimate II 3500) but are they any good? I can't seem to find much information on them from a Google search.

I would then sell both of my WD drives (which are about 6 months old) to fund the purchase of 2x 1TB hard drives. But, I would still need a dedicated single drive for Time Machine, so I'm undecided whether to buy a cheap single disk USB external or keep one of the WD drives. I suppose it depends how much I would be able to sell them for whether it would be worth it.

Thanks in advance for any advice.
 

gagaga

Active Member
I had lots of problems with a PCMCIA eSATA card - it just wasn't stable ... kept losing the drives.

Not sure if Expresscard would be any better ... ?
 

Mr Lazy

Active Member
I have recently bought one of these:
http://www.storagedepot.co.uk/Enclosures-and-Cases/sc884/p523.aspx
http://www.a-tecsubsystem.com/websys/atec/web/products.jsp?prodId=1183451925348

Supports Macs, and has both eSATA and USB.

Fan is a bit noisy, but I won't be leaving it on all the time.

Haven't set it up to RAID1 yet.

I can provide some links to the other (more expensive) units I considered if you like.

Using this eSATA expresscard:
http://www.usbnow.co.uk/PCMCIA,_Exp...ATA_II_Express_Card_Adapter/product_info.html

(though I don't think the expresscard has to support RAID, not really sure)

and 2 x Samsung F1 500GB drives.
 

wicker_man

Active Member
Thanks, are you using the enclosure and eSATA card with a MacBook Pro?
How much did you pay for delivery from Storagedepot?

The enclosures I have seen on eBay are £56 (Tsunami)/£66.80 (Mapower) delivered, so I was thinking in that sort of price range. I prefer the design/styling of the two above enclosures (I'm not sure if it is permitted in the rules to link to eBay items) but haven't really seen them for sale outside eBay.

I plan to leave the drives on whenever my MacBook Pro is on. My WD drives currently spin down after a period of inactivity and are fanless, so you only hear the drive noise. Obviously running two drives in one enclosure will need a fan, so I'm hoping to find out whether the enclosures have a variable speed/temperature sensing fan.
 

Mr Lazy

Active Member
Thanks, are you using the enclosure and eSATA card with a MacBook Pro?
No, Windows laptop, but both those devices are (according to the blurb) Mac compatible.

How much did you pay for delivery from Storagedepot?
I think it was 4.95GBP (free delivery if over 100GBP)

The enclosures I have seen on eBay are £56 (Tsunami)/£66.80 (Mapower) delivered, so I was thinking in that sort of price range. I prefer the design/styling of the two above enclosures
Really? I know the ones you are refering to - I would say they are ugly, but they say that beauty is in the eye of...:)

I plan to leave the drives on whenever my MacBook Pro is on.
In which case probably best you don't get my one, the fan is too noisy.

Here are the other ones I considered (and believe me, I looked), some of which have fan settings of off/low/high but I think that's as far as it goes...

http://www.storagedepot.co.uk/Enclosures-and-Cases/sc884/p541.aspx
http://www.storagedepot.co.uk/Enclosures-and-Cases/sc884/p741.aspx
http://www.stardom.com.tw/sohoraid_spec.htm
http://www.store2go.net/shop/ultima...60-DATAWhale+2+bay+USB+++eSATA+RAID+Solution/
http://www.technoyard.com/hardware/Storage/DataWhale/page_1.html
http://www.store2go.net/shop/ultimatestorage/p/category/0805185348-RAID+-+MirrorDrive+II/
http://www.ioi.com.tw/products/proddetail.aspx?ProdID=1030099
http://www.scan.co.uk/Products/ProductInfo.asp?WebProductID=524759
http://www.thecus.com/products_over.php?cid=10&pid=3

Apart from the Datawhale one above, reviews are non-existant. There are plenty of reviews of the Thecus and I think a few people on these forums have one, but there were a few things that put me off (such as a HDD compatibility list).

Note that the Stardom's only go up to 1.5Gbps despite what it says on the Storage Depot website, though in reality this probably won't make any difference.
 

wicker_man

Active Member
Really? I know the ones you are refering to - I would say they are ugly, but they say that beauty is in the eye of...:)
I think they look much better than the ones you've linked to, the Mapower is silver with rounded edges (which I think will match nicely with my MacBook Pro, like my WD My Book Pro drives). The Tsunami looks like drives styled to match the PowerMac G5/MacPro with the holes in the front panel (the drive picture is black, but the box picture is silver so I'm not sure whether there is a choice).

The DataWhale does look quite good, especially as the review mentioned that the fan is very quiet. It is £94 + delivery though, which is a bit pricey.

There doesn't really seem to be many dual bay enclosures available at the moment. Many people use a single disk external drive, especially laptop users who put all of their files on the drive to save space on the internal drive. The thing is when the drive fails, they are in trouble. This is why I want some kind of RAID mirroring system.

I think I might go for the Mapower TB32, the writeup says it has a temperature controlled fan, so it shouldn't be spinning all of the time.

Now, I just need to advertise my WD drives (after my exams) and keep an eye out for some bargain 1TB HDDs.
 

Mr Lazy

Active Member
the Mapower is silver with rounded edges
I thought it looked grey from the pics, but then again my unit looked white on the website but it's actually silver (aluminium)

The Tsunami...the drive picture is black, but the box picture is silver
aren't these the ones where you can change the front panel (ie. different colours)?

There doesn't really seem to be many dual bay enclosures available at the moment.
Indeed, I had to look hard - it's surprising as you'd think they'd be popular especially as there is a price-gap up to the 4 bay NAS boxes.

This is why I want some kind of RAID mirroring system.
Same here, I will be using it to store home videos on (plus probably backup for pics and other docs)

Incidentally, I was running some benchmark tests using HDTune pro today, and managed to get a peak of 90MB/s read and approx 36MB/s peak on write, which sounds pretty good but the real world Windows copy is about 22MB/s, which is still at least twice USB speeds. YMMV.
 

wicker_man

Active Member
I thought it looked grey from the pics, but then again my unit looked white on the website but it's actually silver (aluminium)
If you look on websites at the WD My Book Pro range, they look white, but they actually are silver (not that far off the aluminium of my MBP). So I suppose you don't really know until you see it in the flesh.

aren't these the ones where you can change the front panel (ie. different colours)?
Yep, the main body of the one they have photographed is black but you get black, red or yellow panels.

Incidentally, I was running some benchmark tests using HDTune pro today, and managed to get a peak of 90MB/s read and approx 36MB/s peak on write, which sounds pretty good but the real world Windows copy is about 22MB/s, which is still at least twice USB speeds. YMMV.
I would have thought SATA would have been faster in 'real world' speeds.

I have just tested copying various files (photos and videos) from my laptop (running OS X Leopard) to my 750GB My Book Pro via FireWire 800 and am achieving speeds between 26-40MB/s, which I think is pretty good. I don't have any HDD benchmarking software though.

EDIT: I have just downloaded XBench and peaking 65MB/s read and 50MB/s read (sequential tests, 256k blocks). My internal drive is a 250GB 5400rpm.

The only thing is dual bay enclosures with FW800 are even harder to find! Scan have a Proavio dvBox Pro which looks good, but it only seems to do RAID 0 and is £76 + del.
 

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